Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2481 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
This is not commercial-in-confidence information. By the minister's own description, it is information that goes to whether party A should deal with party B. It is not about the content of any deal they might come up with. It seems that, from what the minister has said, it is about whether or not the Gungahlin Development Authority should deal. There is serious concern in the community about this. It goes to a great deal of what this government is trying to do in the area of land development.
Mr Hargreaves: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, it appears to me that the member is debating the issue, not why we would need to suspend standing orders.
MR SPEAKER: That is a fair point. Mrs Dunne, stick to the reasons why we need to suspend the standing orders.
MRS DUNNE: If, in a spirit of openness, this government is not prepared to come to the party and simply table the information as requested, we do need to suspend standing orders. That way we can see if we can make this minister as accountable and open as he says he is. That is what the Chief Minister said this government is about.
Accountability and openness are constantly peppered through this government's pronouncements and publications but, when it comes to simple acts of showing accountability and openness, they fail every time. It is regretful that we have to suspend standing orders over simple legal advice of the sort this minister has said underpins this decision.
It is the business, and the right, of this Assembly to scrutinise what goes on. This Assembly cannot scrutinise without this piece of information. That is why I am asking that this Assembly look favourably upon the notion of suspending standing orders-because this government has been ungracious. This is another attempt by them to stifle openness and accountability.
The suspension of standing orders is about openness and accountability, as is the substantive motion. It is really about the capacity of this Assembly to do its job and scrutinise the executive, which goes to the heart of what we do in this place. I commend the motion to the house.
MR CORBELL(Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (3.23): The government will not be supporting this motion today. We will not be supporting the motion because it is simply a cheap and quick way for the opposition to try to keep this issue alive.
In relation to legal advice per se, if Mrs Dunne did a freedom of information request, I am sure she would have learnt by now-
Mrs Dunne: I rise on a point of order, Mr Speaker. This is not a debate about whether or not we should suspend standing orders-it is a substantive debate.
MR CORBELL: Yes, it is. This is a debate about whether we should suspend standing orders.